Seven Vintage Houston Police Cars, Including the Rare HPD Gremlin

Categories: Houston 101

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The huge years
Arcadia Publishing, the outfit that specializes in photo-filled historical books and gave us last year's look at Foley's department store, is out with a look at the Houston Police Department.

It's filled with shots of cops through the years, the celebrities they protected, the cases they worked.

It also features the rides they used once they got out of the horseback age, including a shot of the HPD Gremlin, which was in use for a very, very brief time before the department realized it's a frigging Gremlin.

(All photos reprinted with permission from Houston Police Department, by Tom Kennedy. Available from the publisher online at www.arcadiapublishing.com or by calling 888-313-2665.)

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7. A circa-1964 paddy wagon
Built for comfort!! Doesn't look like there's any sharp, rusty edges for proto-hippies to get tetanus from.


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6. Plenty of room
The 1971 fleet, ready to be outfitted. Each car seats approximately eight in the back alone.


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5. The winged warrior
The 1960-61 fleet, with the stylish wings in the back, inspired no doubt by the Bulgemobile line. If you were knocked back onto one of them in a brawl, it'd pierce your ribcage. We like the heroically inspiring incredibly bored look of the two cops posing.

Location Info

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Houston Police Department Headquarters

1200 Travis St., Houston, TX

Category: General

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11 comments
Car Lifts
Car Lifts

 are all of those cars still function-able? Those would be a nice collection

noblet
noblet

Cars made for police work also offer some features that may be unavailable on civilian models. Buying an ex-fleet car is very similar to buying any used car, but with a bit more research added on.

Ross Boulet
Ross Boulet

The Gremlins were actually MEANT to make the occupants look like idiots. They were the beginning of "Special Operations" which was an assignment you got if you screwed up or if your supervisor didn't like you. Their job was to drive to their assigned intersection, and manually operate the traffic lights during rush hour. I had a friend on the force back then who had this dubious honor.

NewsDog
NewsDog

Just look at all the cars in the picture of the 71 fleet. I'll bet HPD dreams they could buy that many new cars at one time now.

For a while, a short while, in the mid 70s Dallas PD used AMC Matadors. They had to get rid of them because they were so slow and didn't handle well.  

Brittanie Shey
Brittanie Shey

Pic no. 5 freaks me out since the tallest building downtown appears to be City Hall. My how times have changed.

mollusk
mollusk

The picture does not even begin to capture just how ridiculous the Gremlins looked - two chrome bullhorn speakers between two gumdrops on the rack, bright HPD blue, and surrounded by things like 1973 Coupe de Villes and station wagons that could accept light aircraft landing on the roof, salted with puttering Beetles struggling to keep up...

DuckDuckGoose
DuckDuckGoose

Does the book include anything about the 61 Reisner Street Swim Team?

TOLDYA
TOLDYA

I think I've ridden in a couple of those cars.

mollusk
mollusk

The tallest is actually the one on the left, which is now known as the Chase Building on Main at Rusk.  Out of frame to the right would be the under construction Humble (now ExxonMobil) building, which remained the tallest for about 10 years.

Nightmare on Bagby
Nightmare on Bagby

Would make a fun restoration project, if one happened to a have a Gremlin and wanted for some odd reason to restore it. (I saw a Gremlin on the North Loop a few years ago that was either showroom new or immaculately restored; laughed for days.)

Nightmare on Babgy
Nightmare on Babgy

Handcuffed and hogtied and stuffed into the hatchback of a HPD Gremlin: only in Montrose, back when both rents and drugs were cheap! Sounds like a Mel Sharkskin story.

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